BAA must sell back its second-runway homes, says council

DEMANDS have been made for airport operator BAA to sell back the properties it bought as part of a plan to build a second runway at Stansted Airport.

Uttlesford District Council (UDC) is calling for an early meeting with the Secretary of State for Transport, to press for a binding commitment that residents will not have to endure a situation similar to that created by the 2002 aviation white paper.

A motion at Tuesday’s full council meeting requested the letter be sent to Prime Minister David Cameron, to say thank you for the early announcement regarding the second runway, which led to airport operator BAA withdrawing its planning application.

The letter will also ask for a meeting with Philip Hammond MP, at which the council will impress upon the Government the impact of the airport on the local community and environment and ask for support to force BAA to sell back properties it purchased as part of the second runway scheme. The council also wants to ask for a moratorium of at least 50 years on any new runway plans at Stansted.

Leader of UDC, Cllr Jim Ketteridge, said: “Our aim, in seeking to influence any new government aviation policy, is to remove all anxiety from local residents of the threat of a second runway re-emerging after the current parliamentary term.

“We want to be able to face the future with some certainty that this threat has gone away for a significant period which will allow us to get on with normal business without the massive distraction of the second runway threat and its implications both for our residents and those who live further afield.”

Leader of the Liberal Democrat group, Cllr Peter Wilcock, said: “Although the coalition government has agreed not to build a second runway at Stansted, it is essential that everyone realises the damage that the airport application has done to the community - BAA has bought houses and land and has decimated many communities in and around the airport. It is now time for BAA to sell back the land and properties and support the communities rebuild.”

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Leader of the Independent Group, Cllr Elizabeth Godwin, said: “In an ideal world there would be no more airports in the countryside. Any new plans for air travel must look at the impact the noise and pollution in the communities around airports and at alternate locations which do not affect people and their communities so adversely. If that means looking offshore as other countries have successfully managed to do, often with British help, so be it.”